Tapestry of my Life

Tapestry of my life.

I have researched the tapestry of my family tree,

Discovering all its hues and colours.

The earthy tones of farmers, labourers and servants,

The muddy shades of the rogues and thieves.

The splash of patriotism when war loomed,

The humble and the great woven into our tree,

And found many friends amongst the shared blood of our ancestry.


I have explored the tapestry of my soul,

Following the many threads of my lives,

Accepting all the knots, snarls, tears and darns

Do not make the pattern less.

In seeing the whole of the tapestry of being

I found my true authentic self.


In the tapestry of my life

There was one bright stitch of colour.

At times it was overlooked in the allure of its surrounds.

And I thought I knew its texture

And I thought I had its measure

For if it had great value

Then I had to pay the price.

But in the light its weave was seen to entwine my story.

My teacher, my sister, my mother, my daughter, my friend, my pupil.

My twin – the fabric of gold in my life.


Soon I’ll be exploring the tapestry of the Universe.

Expanding beyond the stars; a kaleidoscope of mystery.

As I drift beneath the Milky Way

You’ll remain the centre of my world.

And no matter how far I wander out to the edges of the galaxy

I’ll always be here to wrap you in my velvet cloak of love.

In the decoupage of stitches when we meet again,

We’ll create another layer in our tapestry of love.


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The Green Petticoat

My ancestor Thomas Pye of Haughton married Elizabeth Russell in 1608.  When Elizabeth’s widowed sister, Mary Alsop died in 1634 she did not have much, but she bequeathed to her brother Thomas Russell, sister Jane, niece and nephew Frances and John Pye, one shilling each.  Another niece received all her chattells and cattells.
But to Elizabeth Pye Mary bequeathed one green petticoat.
I am sure there is some story behind the gift.  What is was can only be surmised.  Did Elizabeth admire the petticoat?  Was its value one shilling?  Whatever the circumstances I like to imagine Elizabeth wearing a bottle green petticoat, perhaps with a touch of hem showing beneath her outer skirt.

No plain linen petticoat for Elizabeth!

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Stepfathers – and how they can affect your research.

Stepfathers – and how they can affect your research.

I have discovered that where there is a blended family or an illegitimate child within a family; the fact that the individual I am researching has a stepfather can influence the recording of their surname in later documents.

I recently ordered a birth certificate for a child and found that the mother’s maiden name was recorded as “Sarah Hemmings” – I knew that her correct maiden surname was “Sarah Pye”.  Sarah’s stepfather was Thomas Hemmings.

Sarah was only 3 years of age when her natural father died and 7 years of age when her mother married Thomas Hemmings.  Sarah probably preferred the name of Hemmings rather than Pye.

Sarah was not the only one from my extended family tree to use her stepfather’s surname on her children’s birth certificates.  Emily Patience Pye (born Jones) (mentioned in a previous blog) used her stepfather’s surname of Cooper and Ellen Pye (born Lowe) used her stepfather’s surname of Mort.

I can imagine that if you are a direct descendant of these women and attempting to follow back through your ancestors how these incorrect details on birth certificates could lead to stumbling blocks and confusion in your research.

It is something that is well worth keeping in mind if you find that you are not able to trace a female ancestor’s parents.

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A Tribute.

Today is the second blog-anniversary of my Blog.

A tribute.

I have called to mind the number of monuments that I have contributed to in order to honour my ancestors.

There have been two immigration walls:  one at Harvey Bay, Qld (not that my ancestors had a connection to the area but because it was one of the first such monuments where people could nominate their first arrival ancestors) and the other at the Immigration Museum in Flinders Street, Melbourne.  The names of Thomas Pye and Thomas and Jane Sinnott are now commemorated here.

The other monuments all relate to Captain Charles Pye.  His grave headstone, a commemorative stone at Kirkstall, Victoria and a plaque on the servicemen and womens’ clock tower in Stafford, England.

The memorials in Victoria came about by the work of other relatives, namely Mick, Bill and Francis.  The one in England, by the Mayor of Stafford and Beryl from the Baswich History Society.  My contribution was the background research and information that helped these tributes to happen.

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The real ‘Joe Burge’ of Old Melbourne Memories

The real ‘Joe Burge’ of ‘Old Melbourne Memories’. ‘C’ was reading a centenary book in which was written the following, “at Squattlesea Mere, near Dunmore, Joe Burge, an Irish servant of squatter Thomas Browne, had built a sod hut ‘as he was accustomed to doing at home’.” Both ‘C’ and I knew that Thomas Browne did not have a servant named ‘Joe Burge’ and that the invented name was a pseudonym that Browne had used for his English, not Irish, servant in his book, ‘Old Melbourne memories.’ (OMM)  A book that was written by Browne 40 years after his residence at ‘Squattlesea Mere’ about his memories of his youth in the district.  It was a very romanticized version of squatting life written to appeal to his literary followers. Browne himself wrote (unpublished autobiography) “Joe Burge was born and brought up in the pottery district of Staffordshire.”  So why did the author of the book assume that ‘Joe Burge’ was an Irishman who was accustomed to building sod huts back home?  I can see that she wanted an analogy to support the context of the Irish Catholic community she was writing about and I suspect she used second-hand material as the quote she copied was not in OMM that she attributed it to.  Therefore, the assumption that Joe Burge was the servant’s real name and that he was Irish was someone else’s error. It appears that some authors and family historians are too quick to attribute certain characteristics, emotions and motives to our early ancestors that might be far from the truth. So who was the real ‘Joe Burge’?  Thomas Browne answers that question himself in a letter written to a friend in 1898, “my old servant – Thos Pye – who is mentioned in ‘Old Melbourne Memories’ as ‘Joe Burge’.” Thomas Pye was an Englishman – a brick and tile maker from Staffordshire and the West Midlands.  Where he learnt to build sod huts is unknown but Browne tells us he was very versatile and had “picked up a fair notion of the leading agricultural industry which he used to some purpose in the new country.”  Thomas Pye spent the first 40 years of his life in England and seven years in the colonies before he build the hut at Squattlesea Mere – plenty of life experience to learn such a skill.

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The Brandricks of Staffordshire

The Brandricks of Staffordshire

Frances Pye, a younger daughter of John and Anne Pye, was baptised on 1 January, 1648 in Haughton, Staffordshire.  She had four brothers and three sisters.  The Pye family moved from Haughton to Bromleyhurst in the parish of Abbots Bromley in the 1660s.  When her eldest brother died in 1680, she was bequeathed his cupboard and all his brass and pewter and from her father, who died in 1681, she was to receive £40 after the decease of her mother.  However, Frances’s mother was a long-lived woman and outlived all but two of her children – Frances was not one of them.

Being a younger daughter, Frances did not have a large dowry to attract an early marriage and it was not until she was thirty three years of age that she married Yeoman John Brandrith of Heatley on 15 October, 1682.

The marriage settlement between the couple and Frances’s brothers, Robert Pye and Thomas Pye (my direct ancestor) makes mention of the parcels of land that John Brandrith was to allocate to the support of Frances, including the messuages, cottage or tenement called the Long field, the little south meadow, land called the Cotsfield, Heatly Croft and other fields with their buildings, barns, stables, cowhouses, orchards, gardens and hempbutts.

Whether Frances had any miscarriages or not during the immediate years after her marriage is unknown but by 1686 she did give birth to her son.  I have read a novel in which a wife both looked forward to but also dreaded the impending birth of her child, due to the high mortality associated with giving birth.  Frances was one such tragedy and she died three weeks after delivering her son.  Frances was buried on 12 May, 1686.

The son, named John after his father, was then raised by his uncle, Robert Pye, for the next four years, until Robert’s death in 1690.  Robert’s last will and testament directs, “And further more I desire and my mind and will is that my Executors shall look after and have a care of John Brandreth my sister’s son.”  One of the executors was Thomas Pye.  Perhaps John was then raised by his uncle Thomas Pye.

John Brandrith married Jane Ashe on 26 August, 1709 in Abbots Bromley.  When John died in 1730 his Will stated that he was a blacksmith and had two children: Elizabeth and Richard.  The executors of the Will were Thomas Pye junior (the grandson of his uncle Robert Pye) and James Bennett (husband of his uncle Thomas Pye’s daughter, Dorothy).  John Brandrith’s assets were only valued at a little over £3.

Richard Brandrick (the spelling of the surname having now changed to Brandrick) married Sarah North and moved to Blithfield, Abbots Bromley and had nine children.  It is from this family that the Brandrick family tree began to sprout and grow and spread throughout Staffordshire.

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George Booth

George Booth – results from a day of research. Sarah Vernon, a granddaughter of one of my Pye family, married George Booth in 1899 in Staffordshire.  George was born about 1877. Wanting to know who George’s parents were I checked the census records and found that George Booth was listed on the 1881, as a 3 year old, and the 1891 census, 13 years old, as a “Visitor” in the household of Reuben Joseph Wootton and his wife Maria Wootton. I suspected that George Booth was related to Maria and I confirmed that Maria Booth married Reuben Joseph Wootton.  Being listed as a visitor I didn’t think that George was Maria’s son. Earlier census records showed that Maria, born Marston near Stafford, was the daughter of Henry and Jane Booth.  She had an elder sister named Amelia Booth, born 1852 at Marston, and a number of younger siblings. I next found a baptism for George Booth.  He was born on 22 October, 1877 and baptised on 3 November, 1877 at St Pauls, Coven, Staffordshire.  His unmarried mother was Amelia Booth, a servant.  It now appeared that George Booth was the nephew of Maria Wootton.  I looked further to see why George was with his aunt. Amelia Booth born 1852, only appeared on two census records.  The 1861 and 1871 census, the later year Amelia was listed as a servant at Coven, working for Charles Price.  I was feeling like I was on the right track since George was born at Coven.  Then I checked the marriage indexes and found Amelia Booth married in 1876 to John Whitehouse. This is a year too early to fit with Amelia Booth having an illegitimate child at the end of 1877.  Amelia and John Whitehouse had seven children, starting from 1878, with the 1911 census listing Jane Booth, mother-in-law living with them.  Amelia and John Whitehouse’s two eldest children were also born in Coven. So the question that I am now left with is, Do I have the right mother for George Booth?  Is George’s mother, Amelia, the sister of Maria Wootton nee Booth, the woman who appears to have raised George.  My search through the Staffordshire records did not leave me with any other options for Amelia Booth being anyone else other than the sister of Maria and daughter of Henry and Jane and yet how could she have married a year prior to the birth of an illegitimate child? Another puzzle in the Tree.

Post script

I have also discovered that Amelia’s father Henry Booth sister, Anne Eliza Booth’s second husband was William Ecclestone.  William’s grandmother, Alice Pye is another member of my Pye tree.  Therefore George Booth and his wife Sarah Vernon have a distant blood relationship to each other.

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